AS THE recession bit, the sight of hundreds of people queuing outside Cork city’s dole office on Hanover Quay, the queue snaking around the corner, over Parliament Bridge, and down Wandsford Quay, became a national symbol of the depth of the jobs crisis facing the nation.
The queue was at its longest between 2009 and 2010 and while it has shortened somewhat, mostly due to emigration, there are still over 26,000 on the Live Registerin the Cork Metropolitan area — almost triple the 2005 figure.
The figure, produced by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), includes people without work, part-time workers, as well as seasonal and casual workers entitled to jobseeker’s benefit or allowance.
And figures from Census 2011 show that only 18% of unemployed people in Cork city are non-Irish, the lowest of any of the five major cities, which means that Cork has the highest number of native Irish people on the live register.
The CSO has also identified 81 electoral divisions in Ireland as unemployment black spots where the jobless rate exceeds 35%.
Over half of these were in parts of the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford.
In Cork, Knocknaheeny has been recorded as the city’s worst unemployment black spot, with 43.3% of adults describing themselves as out of work.
The CSO figures for April show that the Live Register figure for Metropolitan Cork stood at 26,082.
Most of those, 17,285, are men, with 2,579 under the age of 25.
This stands in stark contract to the 2005-figure of 9,616.
As the economy began to falter, and in line with national trends, the numbers of people on the Live Register in Cork began to soar.
The Cork Economic Monitor, which is compiled by Cork City Council, shows a surge between 2006 and 2007 when the numbers jumped an incredible 10% — from 9,166 to just over 10,000.
As the economy’s collapse continued, the figures continued to soar year-on-year. In 2008, the figures jumped 63% to 16,486 and by 57% to 25,925 in 2009.
By 2010 in the wider county area, the figures on the dole were showing the largest percentage hike of any county in the previous year…